Some of the popular Religious Festivals of South India are as follows:
Onam: Celebrated in Kerala, Onam is famous for being a harvest and secular festival. People from different castes, religions and creeds come jointly to commemorate Onam. It is assumed that the mythical King Mahabali comes every year to have a look over his subjects during this period. The traditional dance Tiruvathira kali or Kaikotti kali is also performed during Onam. It is also known as the ‘Festival of Rain Flowers’. The first and last day of this 10 day festival is the main days. Pookkalam, a multi-colored ornamentation is painted by the people, in front of their homes during this festival.
Pongal: It is celebrated on 14th January in Tamil Nadu. The word 'Pongal' is Tamil language mainly signifies the meaning ‘to boil over’. In Tamil Culture, the milk boiling from the mud pot means success in the household. In this festival, it is considered favorable to present boiled rice in milk to the Sun God. Food items made with sugar cane are served during this festival. Though, in the cities, it is only celebrated for one day, it normally is a 4 day long festival, consisting of these days- Bogi, Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kanum Pongal.
Karaga: Recognized as one of the oldest festivals of Karnataka, Karaga is one of the lauded festivals of the Thigala community in Karnataka. Hindu myths reveals the in the end of Mahabharata, it was Draupadi which protected the lives of Pandavas. Thus, it is believed that during the celebration of Karaga, the power of Draupadi can be felt in the ambience. It is a 9 day long festival and usually takes place in the month of March and April.
Thrissur Pooram: Lauded as one of the significant temple festivals in Kerala, Thrissur Pooram is held at Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur. It is a secular festival and thus, religious considerations are not vital for the celebration of this festival. The Maharaja of Kochi, known as Raja Rama Verma started this tradition of Thrissur Pooram in 1798. As per the Malayalam Calender, it is celebrated every year in the month of April.
Chithirai Thiruvizha: The Chithirai Thiruvizha festival is celebrated in the Chitirai Month of the Tamil Calendar which falls in the month of April. It is a one month long festival, in which the first 15 days are meant for worshipping Meenkashi, the rebirth of Goddess Parvati. The last 15 days are celebrated for the Alagar, who is a rebirth of Lord Vishnu.
Yugadi: It is the New Year celebration in Karnataka. This falls on the day after the new moon day in April, the month of Chaitra. The formation of the Karnataka State is celebrated on the 1st of November and is a state festival.
Karthigai Deepam: The Karthigai Deepam festival can be termed as an extension of Diwali in Tamil Nadu as it falls just after the main festival of Diwali. It is the festival dedicated to the immortal light created by lord Shiva. Many houses add one lamp for the day from Diwali and by this day the houses are full of Lamps. The lamps are worshipped and they burn day and night also on the streets.
Gowri Habba is a significant festival in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It is also celebrated in Maharashtra and is known as Hartalika. It is known as Bhaadrapada Shukla Paksha in Goa. Goddess Gowri (Gauri) is the mother of Lord Ganesha and wife of Lord Shiva. As per Hindu beliefs Goddess Gowri is the incarnation of Aadhi Shakthi Mahamaya. She is Shakti of Lord Shiva. It is believed that on the third day of the month of Bhaadra, Goddess Gowri comes home like any married girl comes to her parents' house. The next day Lord Ganesha, her son, comes as if to take her back to Kailasa. On this day the Swarna Gowri Vratha is performed in order to appease the Goddess.